Is this another survey of the blindingly obvious?
In many ways, yes. Anybody could tell you that prices rise during the school holidays. Airlines, hotels, tour operators all take the view that there is a captive market. Children can only have holidays out of term time so the law of supply and demand applies. A captive market means raised prices.
Except that the research by Santander Cards shows that it has been getting more and more expensive in proportion to other times of the year. This year Santander claims that holidays are up to 85% higher in mid-August than they are in mid-July. In 2008, the last year where the same month-by-month difference was at his highest, it was only 79%. In 2009, the economic times caused holiday providers to be nervous so the difference wasn’t as great. Obviously, they feel more confident that we will pay these higher prices as last year clearly demonstrated that we would make other sacrifices before we ditched our holidays. But will we continue to accept such a big difference in prices?
More and more people are taking their children out of school during term time regardless of all the government huffing and puffing. What do kids do in the last week or so of the summer term other than go on school trips and have sports’ days? They’ll not be missing much so we’ll take them on holiday when it is slightly cheaper. The same applies at the start of the new academic year. Then the kids are getting to grips with new timetables but the lessons haven’t properly begun. Parents think that a week lost than can be made up. And they are probably right despite what teachers say.
The wider this gap grows between July and August prices the more likely it is that parents will take kids away in term time. They can be fined of course, but the fines are less than the saving on the holiday costs could be. Before long the holiday providers might find that they’ve shot their golden goose. Parents might look at staycations where it is a bit cheaper than overseas packages. Or they’ll trade down. Or book for shorter periods.